These are so good and so easy to make!
Normally when I made biscuits I’d freeze a stick of butter first and then grate it with a box grater to get an even dispersal of butter in the dough. I was convinced by various cookbooks that that was the best way to make a fluffy biscuit but Cook’s Illustrated’s “clumping” method of adding cold buttermilk to melted butter has changed my mind on the matter. Their method is faster, requires less elbow grease and produces a surprisingly tender biscuit. From now on when I want fluffy biscuits this will be the method I’ll use (for flaky biscuits I have a totally different recipe).
I ate four of these biscuits in one sitting with a bowl of chowder. They were so good!
I love the cheddar and scallion combo but next time I’m going to try adding some crispy bacon and chopped jalapenos to the dough. I think that’ll be even more awesome! And of course I’ll have to remember to double the recipe 😉
Cheddar and Scallion Drop Biscuits from Cook’s Illustrated
Why this recipe works:
We wanted a drop biscuit recipe that would offer a no-nonsense alternative to traditional rolled biscuits, with the same tenderness and buttery flavor. Replacing milk with buttermilk intensified the flavor and improved the texture of our biscuit recipe. Allowing melted butter to clump in the buttermilk added height, since the water in the butter expanded and evaporated in the oven.
Makes 12 Biscuits
If buttermilk isn’t available, powdered buttermilk added according to package instructions or clabbered milk can be used instead. To make clabbered milk, mix 1 cup milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice and let stand 10 minutes. A 1/4-cup (#16) portion scoop can be used to portion the batter. To refresh day-old biscuits, heat them in a 300-degree oven for 10 minutes.
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (10 ounces)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (2 ounces)
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
1 cup buttermilk (cold)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly (about 5 minutes), plus 2 tablespoons melted butter for brushing biscuits
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 475 degrees. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt, cheese, and scallions in large bowl. Combine buttermilk and 8 tablespoons melted butter in medium bowl, stirring until butter forms small clumps (see photo below).
2. Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients and stir with rubber spatula until just incorporated and batter pulls away from sides of bowl. Using greased 1/4-cup dry measure, scoop level amount of batter and drop onto parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet (biscuits should measure about 2 1/4 inches in diameter and 1 1/4 inches high). Repeat with remaining batter, spacing biscuits about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake until tops are golden brown and crisp, 12 to 14 minutes.
3. Brush biscuit tops with remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter. Transfer to wire rack and let cool 5 minutes before serving.
Scoop, Drop, and Bake
A greased 1/4-cup measure is a great tool for scooping dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Butter is Good Butter
When you stir slightly cooled melted butter into cold buttermilk, the butter will clump. Although this might look like a mistake, it’s one of the secrets to this recipe. The clumps of butter are similar to the small bits of cold butter in biscuits prepared according to the traditional method and help guarantee a light and fluffy interior.